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October 27, 2017 8:09 pm

Beware Asbestos

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 @ 5:58 AM

Prince George, B.C. –  Exposure to asbestos may not impact you  today,  it may not  impact  you  a year or two from now,  but  it  certainly  could be  the cause of serious illness and death  10  to 40 years down the road.

Asbestos  is the number one killer of workers in B.C. says WorkSafe BC .

In the past ten years, nearly 600 workers in this province lost their lives because of  diseases  related to being exposed to asbestos.  And with  home renovations  being  a viable option  to  selling and moving,  asbestos exposure  is something to seriously consider before undertaking even a minor renovation.

asbestos_removal_3Asbestos  is prevalent in homes or buildings constructed before  1990.   It can be in  a number of places:

( image at right  points out  the possible  locations for  asbestos in an older  home- image courtesy WorkSafe BC)

  • Vinyl tile and  lino  floor coverings,
  • Roof felt and shingles
  • Loose, blown-in insulation, such as vermiculite
  • Stucco
  • Gypsum board filling compound, and patching and joint compound for walls and ceilings
  • Incandescent light fixture backing
  • Deck undersheeting



Over the summer, WorkSafe  conducted a survey to see how much  home owners  knew  about asbestos  and the  results  were  surprising says Al Johnson, WorkSafe BC’s Vice President of Prevention Field Services “The survey  verified some of our thoughts  and it is a  bit surprising.  Fewer than one in ten British Columbians pinpoint  asbestos disease as the number one cause  of worker deaths  in this  Province.  So they didn’t know that asbestos is killing  workers at an alarming rate.”

The results of the survey have sparked WorkSafe to  launch an education campaign to raise awareness about the presence of asbestos  and the  dangers it can pose  to  you,  your family,  or those who have been hired to  do  those renovations.

Johnson says the survey   also showed only one in three who had renovated a home built before 1990  actually  tested the site for asbestos before  the renovations  got underway.  “That indicates to us, that we have a great opportunity to help homeowners understand asbestos,  and the role they have to play  when it comes to renovation or demolition”.

“Demolition and renovation  are very active in today’s market place ” says Johnson.  Certainly here in Prince George  renovations accounted for  nearly $26.25 million  dollars in permit values  issued in the first  ten months of this year.   That’s about 22% of the year to date total  permit values for all  construction in Prince George.

That survey also  showed only half of those   surveyed believe they have some role to play in looking for asbestos or testing for asbestos  before there are  any renovations to  their home.  “This is a shared responsibility” says Johnson “It’s a shared responsibility with the homeowner to take that   next step and think  about asbestos, identify asbestos and remove   asbestos safely following the proper procedures, so you can get  the rest of the work done safely.”

Sometimes,   when  a major  education campaign is launched it is a precursor to new rules, regulations or legislation,  Johnson says that is not the case with this  effort “Our campaign is about awareness” says Johnson,  who points to a special  website  “It is a new website,  it is focused to homeowners who are doing renovations and demolition and trying to highlight a number of materials in older homes that might contain asbestos.  Be conscious of those   materials,  be aware of those materials,  and if you have  them and you are going to sand them or cut them or break them up   during a renovation or demolition ,then  take the precaution.  Identify whether that material has asbestos or not, and then do the work safely.”



In the early ’80’s, ABC aired a documentary called “Asbestos, the way to Dusty death”. One part that I felt stood out was that the asbestos producers knew as early as 1930 that their product was affecting workers health, but decided that it was not in their best interest to make that information public. Hence the law suits re: mesothelioma you see on TV channels.
The next time that someone posts another “we don’t need unions” comment, I just think about our good corporate citizens such as asbestos producer Johns Manville.

I still think it incomprehensible , unforgivable that Harper and his cadre of deplorables would fight every agency in the world to keep the asbestos industry alive in canada and exporting to the third world .

    Naturally we should blame Harper. Of course we never exported any asbestos before he was elected, and when he lost the election we stopped exporting it. Right??? Trudeau’s hands are clean.

      Asbestos mining was stopped in Canada in 2012, however we still import asbestos products. In 2015 we imported $8.3 Million dollars of asbestos related products.

      The Trudeau Government was asked as far back as November 2015 to stop the import of asbestos. Nothing done so far.

Sorry Palopu, here is the smoking gun evidence that it was the Harper Conservative Government who blocked asbestos from being on the International Hazardous Chemicals list at the UN Summit in Switzerland in 2011.

www .thestar.com/news/canada/2011/06/22/canada_blocks_asbestos_from_hazardous_chemicals_list_at_un_summit.html

Our house was built in 1962 by Bob Ewert and his family. The asbestos in this house keeps us all super warm. If I ever do any big changes it will surely cost.

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